OPINION: Communities come together to support families in crisis

OPINION: Communities come together to support families in crisis

I was delighted to attend the Cars that Care event at the Luddenham Showground on Sunday, April 11, as Labor's spokesperson for the Camden Electorate. Youth Adolescent Mental Health Support (YAMHS) organised the family car show to celebrate the organisation's first birthday to help end mental health stigma and support local mental health projects.

The Luddenham showground was full of locals enjoying entertainment, fantastic food, and kids' activities, including arts and crafts. The event focused on bringing the community together, with live music from local schools and bands from the area.

The show featured over 100 incredible cars and bikes, including from the Rural Fire Service for families to see. I was extremely fortunate to enjoy the amazing day along with Labor's Shadow Minister for Emergency Services and Domestic Violence, Trish Doyle. We were able to help judge the cars where trophies were awarded.

YAMHS is a special branch of the Ingleburn Lions Club. The club and the charity, We are Community, helped create the Cars that Care event. The event far exceeded the organisers' expectations, with double the amount of cars coming on the day. Bacon and egg rolls were in hot demand and sold out quickly! The gold coin entry for attendees ensured that proceeds were raised for We are Community's homelessness initiatives and two amazing youth programs organised by YAMHS.

One of YAMHS' great programs launched on Sunday, April 18, called Café Chat, where people with loved ones who are impacted by mental health issues could catch up with others who understand their struggles and stresses. YAMHS will continue to have these monthly Café Chats at Alkalizer Café in Campbelltown. Proceeds from Cars that Care will also be supporting the YAMHS youth ambassador high school program. It is an excellent initiative that aims to educate students about youth mental health whilst also empowering them to reach out when they need help.

YAMHS President Katie Cameron and Vice President Glenn Cossar are incredible advocates for supporting all people in the community that are impacted by youth mental health. Like other members of the YAMHS team, both Katie and Glenn can use their direct and extensive experience to really help lessen the pain and suffering for those experiencing mental illness and their loved ones. Health workers often alert YAMHS about families in crisis, and their team works to help connect them to services and provides both financial and emotional support.

It is essential that political representatives like myself meet with the people who see these issues first-hand, like Katie and Glenn, as they really understand what is going on in our communities and see the challenges people face each day. YAMHS is supported by volunteers and is always looking for more. It is wonderful that there are caring people who pour their heart and souls into organisations like YAHMS. However, the NSW Government needs to do more to help. The Berejiklian Government needs to support our communities and ensure that health and support services in Western Sydney are properly resourced.

This story OPINION: Communities come together to support families in crisis first appeared on Camden-Narellan Advertiser.